A novel approach: Local writer Richard Rose works in new genre
by Doug Rapp
Local writer Richard Rose thought his screenplay, “Comic Crusaders,” would never get off the ground. It had been optioned twice by movie producers but never made.
Then Savant Books reached out, looking for works to publish as screenplay novels, which Rose describes as a bridge between novel and screenplay. He offered up “Comic Crusaders” which was released last November.
Rose described the plot in two sentences, likening his summary to the logline for a movie in TV Guide: “A teenage cartoonist uses a magic pen to bring a superhero to life to help him find his father who has mysteriously disappeared. In so doing, he unwittingly unleashes a grotesque supervillain and his dark legions challenging him to find a way to save his father while preventing the dark legions from taking over the world.”
To read a screenplay novel, “the reader has to use his or her imagination,” the semi-retired financial advisor said. “The action and the dialogue move the story forward at a much faster pace.”
Whereas a novel or story might describe a scene in several paragraphs, Rose said he opens a scene in “Comic Crusaders” in an adolescent’s bedroom with a simple, “A teenage junkyard.”
The longtime Streeterville resident had been thinking of ways to reach today’s readers after observing people in bookstores.
“Kids don’t read like we did,” Rose said. “They’re very impatient. They’re looking at video games and movies.”
Rose, who has also published several novels and short stories, thinks screenplay novels like “Comic Crusaders” are one way to reach them.
“It’s a revolutionary way to beget a new genre and attract a much younger audience,” he said.
The roots of “Comic Crusaders” go back to Rose’s childhood in Kokomo, Ind. He and his brother Charlie would create comic strips with superheroes and villains parodying well-known citizens of his north-central Indiana hometown. Over time, Rose said, it morphed into the story it is today.
“It’s lighthearted and a fun read,” he said, contrasting it with contemporary superhero stories that he characterized as violent and lacking humor.
Rose said he is working on “Redemption,” a sequel to his novel “The Lazarus Conspiracies,” about a maverick Chicago cop who uncovers a deadly conspiracy.
“Comic Crusaders” is available at Amazon.com